LAHORE: Sugar millers from Punjab have asked the federal ministry of industries and production to allow immediate export of 500,000 metric tons of surplus sugar which can not only fetch US $400 million to the national exchequer but also help the cash-strapped sugar industry and ensure timely payments to the sugarcane growers.

In a letter written to Federal Minister for Industries & Production Dr Gohar Ejaz, which was also shared with the media, the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) claimed that it was facing some challenges.

It said as per latest data of the FBR, 1.13 MMT sugar stocks as on 31-10-2023 were still available with sugar mills which would last for more than two months considering our average offtake of last 11 months. New crushing season 2023-24 with this stocks position was considered unviable for the industry due to multiple deterrents. Storage capacity of many sugar mills was already occupied due to existing stocks. Non-clearance of previous liability of banks due to undisposed sugar stocks with high interest rates had added to cash flow crunch of sugar mills notwithstanding that banks had squeezed credit lines for growers’ payments after court decision of JS Bank case.

Prices of sugar are already much lower than its higher cost of production due to constant increases in major cost components like prices of sugarcane, interest rates and imported chemicals.

The Association further claimed that permission at this juncture to export 500,000 MT of surplus sugar would not only facilitate the sugar industry to cope up with the impending cash flow crunch but would ensure timely payments to sugarcane growers and would bring the much needed foreign exchange for national exchequer.

“While allowing export of sugar of 250,000 MT in January this year it was promised with the sugar industry by the government that further tranches of sugar export would be allowed subsequently,” the letter added. The PSMA-PZ requested the minister to allocate time for an early meeting with a delegation of sugar industry and to take up the matter of surplus sugar export with the federal government in view of the above narrated submissions.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Tariq Qurashi Nov 17, 2023 11:24am
We normally export sugar, and then there is a shortage, and we import sugar. This points towards a cartel that is manipulating prices and the market for their own benefit. The Competition Commission needs to look into all these manipulations and ensure that normal market forces and competition come into play with minimum interference from the government.
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